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Lee Enterprises Reports Earnings Growth, Improving Revenue And 16% Increase In Operating Cash Flow

Lee Enterprises, Incorporated (NYSE:LEE) reported today that for its second fiscal quarter ended March 28, 2010, operating cash flow (1) increased 16.2 percent compared with a year ago, as online advertising revenue climbed 14.1 percent and the decline in total revenue moderated by more than half from the previous quarter to 6.6 percent.

Earnings per diluted common share were 7 cents, compared with a loss of $1.16 per share a year ago. Excluding adjustments (2) for curtailment gains, the impact of new health care legislation and other unusual items, earnings per diluted common share were 4 cents, compared with a loss of 7 cents a year ago.

Mary Junck, chairman and chief executive officer, said: “Lee posted another good quarter, with steadily improving revenue trends, a 14 percent jump in online advertising sales and continued earnings growth. Aggressive new sales initiatives have driven nearly 4,700 new online accounts since November and are gaining momentum. The gradually brightening business environment is also helping, and earlier Easter advertising caused March to be easily the best month of the quarter. We expect our revenue performance to continue improving in a still-rough economy, and we also remain focused on careful, long-term cost control.”

SECOND QUARTER OPERATING RESULTS

Operating revenue for the quarter totaled $185.7 million, a decline of 6.6 percent compared with a year ago. Combined print and online advertising revenue decreased 7.7 percent to $130.6 million, with retail advertising down 6.4 percent, national also down 6.4 percent and classified down 10.2 percent. Combined print and online employment advertising revenue decreased 16.5 percent, automotive decreased 11.9 percent, real estate decreased 17.7 percent and other classified declined 0.1 percent. Online advertising revenue on a standalone basis increased 14.1 percent to $11.3 million, representing 8.7 percent of total advertising revenue. Online retail advertising revenue rose 21.2 percent and online classified advertising increased 3.9 percent. The number of unique visitors at Lee online sites totaled 47.4 million for the quarter, an increase of 13.2 percent compared with a year ago.

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